Tag Archives: bbc

BBC News at 10 advertises Israel hate organisation from Mandela memorial event in Johannesburg.

BBC reporter's piece to camera for News at 10 on Tuesday night.

BBC reporter’s piece to camera for News at 10 on Tuesday night.

I don’t know what the definition of an “advert” is but I don’t expect to see any adverts on the BBC considering every British household with a tv has to stump up £145.50 a year for the BBC not to show them.

Had a BBC reporter been standing directly in front of a banner showing of box of, let’s say, Persil Automatic at the memorial event for Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg on Tuesday for a piece for the BBC’s News At 10 I am sure complaints would have come in thick and fast.

Instead, for part of her piece to camera, a BBC reporter stood directly in front of a banner advertising the Palestine Solidarity Alliance. Underneath that name and their logo was Nelson Mandela’s quote “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”. The reporter then walked away to give a clear view of the banner:

The piece in front of the banner lasted for some 15 seconds, which would have commanded a fair return in terms of advertising revenue. This is some of what those lovely folk at the Palestine Solidarity Alliance desire:

“The PSA strives to build a National and International Movement that supports the campaign to isolate Apartheid Israel and promote solidarity with the people of Palestine in their quest for self determination. In this we draw attention to the human rights violations perpetrated by Apartheid Israel, the inequality that defines the racism inherent in Zionism and the injustices that continue to cause conflict and suffering. Furthermore, we also celebrate the heroic battles and victories of Palestinian people and movements in their struggle for freedom and human dignity.

Expose the evil nature of Zionism as a racist colonial venture in defiance of four Geneva Conventions, UN Resolutions 181, 194, 242, 338 and other multilateral and international human rights conventions, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Align with solidarity movements to build a strong (BDS) Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement with the freedom loving people and leaders of South Africa”

The PSA also explicitly calls for “the right for return of the Palestinian refugees”. This is, in other words, the demographic destruction of the Jewish state.

I am not sure that Nelson Mandela, known for his desire for conciliation at any cost, would have been too proud of the BBC. Despite what Nelson Mandela might have said in favour of the Palestinians he was also quite understanding of Israel’s security needs.

But I wouldn’t bother complaining to the BBC. When a viewer complained to the BBC about anti-Israel activist Tony Greenstein wearing a Palestine Solidarity Campaign shirt and badge on the BBC’s The Big Question the BBC replied that his attire “was another form of expression”.

Sadly, I’m sure the BBC will respond in a similar ridiculous vein to any complaints about that PSA banner.

How many Comic Relief Mosquito Nets pay for War on Want’s Rafeef Ziadah?

War On Want unveil their "Stop Arming Israel" campaign next to PSC last night.

War On Want unveil their “Stop Arming Israel” campaign next to PSC last night.

On annual Red Nose Day the BBC broadcasts an evening of entertainment interspersed with heart-breaking scenes from Africa and British hospitals and hospices all in the hope of encouraging people to donate to Comic Relief.

Red Nose Day is on March 15th but one has to wonder how much money Comic Relief wastes. It is an ongoing tragedy which I witnessed at first hand last night when War On Want appeared at the Israeli Apartheid Week event Voices from Palestine: Resisting Racism and Apartheid held at the University of London Union (ULU).

By April 2010, when I first wrote about War On Want’s anti-Israel activism, Comic Relief had already given War On Want approximately £1.7m. War On Want’s accounts now show that in 2011 Comic Relief gave War On Want yet another £303,391. I await the figures for 2012 and 2013.

From War On Want’s 2011 accounts:

wow

And here is War On Want’s “mock occupation of a London Waitrose” where activists singled out Israeli produce for boycotting.

So War On Want demands sanctions against Israel until Israel “complies with international law.” However, one of the demands of the BDS campaign is the return of so-called “Palestinian refugees” to Israel which, according to Haidar Eid, who spoke last night, amounts to some “seven million Palestinians”. This is thanks to the ridiculous UN definition of “Palestinian refugee”, which includes ALL the descendants of those Palestinians who, for various reasons, left Israel in 1947-1948.

A similar definition applied to myself would make me a Polish refugee (now where’s that key to my grandfather’s old home in Lodz?)

Obviously if such a “return” took place then Israel would cease to exist as it would quickly become another Muslim Arab state. Therefore, Israel can only comply with “international law”, as interpreted by War On Want, if it destroys itself. This is where Comic Relief’s money is going!

At last night’s event War On Want was represented by two employees; Natalie Idle (Activism and Outreach Officer) and Rafeef Ziadah.

Ziadah, a Canadian “Palestinian refugee” and War On Want’s Senior Campaigns Officer (Militarism and Security), is a long-time anti-Israel activist. Here she is at an Israel Apartheid Week event last year, before she worked for War On Want, sickeningly praising Islamic Jihad terrorist Khader Adnan. Five years earlier Adnan had been filmed urging others to become suicide bombers in order to murder innocent Israelis.

At last night’s event Ziadah called for a boycott of Tesco and Sainsbury’s due to their trade with Israel. She also unveiled War On Want’s new campaign for Britain to instigate a two-way arms ban against Israel; both selling arms to Israel and buying arms from Israel, which, she claimed, are “tested on Palestinian bodies and then used in Afghanistan.”

War On Want's Rafeef Ziadah, left, having fun with Jarar and Kopty at ULU last night.

War On Want’s Rafeef Ziadah, left, having fun with Jarar and Kopty at ULU last night.

I would like to have filmed Ziadah’s statements but we were told there was no filming or photography allowed by “unauthorised persons”. I was, therefore, limited to voice recording until early into the speeches when I felt a sudden nudge in my back from a Free Palestine T-Shirt wearing activist who suggested that I switch off my recorder or be removed.

Meanwhile, Haidar Eid, Associate Professor of Cultural Studies at Al-Aqsa University in Gaza, repeatedly referred to Gaza as the “largest concentration camp on earth”.

Abir Kopty, a Palestinian activist from Nazareth who has a Masters in Political Communication from City University, London, called for a “blacklist of settlers and soldiers” who should have their passports stamped “Denied Entry” to stop them traveling.

Yafa Jarrar, another Canadian “Palestinian refugee”, gave a long, dull account of her BDS activities at Carleton University in Ottowa of which she seemed very proud.

Ziadah finished by holding up “a rock from Haifa” which, she said, was as close to home as she could get as “a Palestinian refugee”. She said she hoped that herself, Eid, Kopty and Jarrar will all one day meet on Haifa’s beach without being oppressed by the “racist state of Israel”.

So why has Comic Relief funded War On Want’s sickening racist activism to the tune of some £2m (and counting) while millions of children have died from the likes of malaria? At least one million people die each year from malaria in Africa of which 70% are children under 5. Ziadah’s War On Want salary could easily help supply thousands more insecticide-treated mosquito nets which would save lives! Plus she also seems to work at SOAS anyway.

The British people need to know that their precious donations to Comic Relief are being wasted on the racist ideologies of activists in War On Want who organise invasions of British supermarkets, call for Tesco and Sainsbury’s to be boycotted and who work for the only Jewish state to simply disappear.

Former BBC Middle East correspondent Tim Llewellyn: “Zionists are scattered at strategic points throughout British business.”

Milne, Alibhai-Brown, Llewellyn, Rowland listening to Jenny Tonge's rant last night.

Milne, Alibhai-Brown, Llewellyn, Rowland listening to Jenny Tonge’s rant last night.

The reputation of the Jewish community was dragged through the gutter at last night’s book launch of The Battle for Public Opinion in Europe: Changing Perceptions of the Palestine-Israel Conflict. The event was staged by anti-Israel pressure group Middle East Monitor at the University of London’s Senate House.

The panelists were Tim Llewellyn (former BBC Middle East correspondent and now adviser to Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding), Jackie Rowland (Al Jazeera correspondent) and Seumas Milne (The Guardian associate editor). Yasmin Alibhai-Browne (The Independent) chaired the event.

Llewellyn and Rowland described a persistent manipulation of the British broadcast media by a well-moneyed pro-Jewish lobby. Llewellyn said, inter alia, that:

“The BBC is very sparing in the amount of delegations or visitors it allows from the Palestinian side. Whereas from remarks that have been heard from the head of BBC News, Helen Boaden, the British Board of Deputies (of British Jews), for example, practically lives at the BBC. They’re there all the time.”

And:

“I was there (at the BBC) when we weren’t interfered with. But the last 10-12 years, since the beginning of the second Intifada, has coincided with Israel’s decision  to mount a tremendously well organised, careful, assiduous and extremely well financed propaganda campaign in this country, especially in Britain.

The BBC has completely and utterly become feeble and has misreported, in my view; misrepresenting the situation in Israel-Palestine. It has done this maybe because of intense Israeli and pro-Israeli pressure from within this country, from political elements like the Friends of Israel of our three main political parties.

Also through the higher level of pro-Israel Zionists who are scattered at strategic points throughout the British establishment, throughout British business and among the people whose voices are respected.

The propaganda can sometimes be extremely intense, it can be bitter, it can be angry, it could be violent, it can be other forms of coercion. But it’s something the suits at the BBC find very hard to resist. So what has developed over the past 10 years at the BBC, and at other broadcasting institutions like ITN, not so much Channel 4, is a kind of self-censorship.

It is known now by the reporters if they are reporting on an atrocity by the Israelis, in the occupied territories or elsewhere, that they have to add on to the end of their story some kind of appeasing story of how terrible the Palestinians are or how the Israelis have suffered.”

And:

“The pressure of this Israeli campaign has had a tremendous effect, especially at the institutional level of the BBC and inside the political parties. These people are extremely tough, tough minded. I have just read a book by Anthony Lerman called The Making and Unmaking of a Zionist. If you studied the internecine warfare that goes on inside the Jewish community between the different groups; the anti-Zionists, the Zionists, the liberal Zionists, the non-Zionists, it is vitriolic, it is dreadful, I mean what chance have we got outside that community.”

Llewellyn even described Jews as “an alien people”. He said:

“The situation in Palestine now is the direct result of British deviousness, betrayal…dividing Syria in at least three parts; Lebanon, Syria as it is now, and Palestine, and setting the stage for the imposition and the implanting of an alien country, an alien people in that region.”

Rowland described how the BBC’s obligation for accountability, because it is publicly funded, has been “used and exploited by very well organised pro-Israeli, pro-Jewish lobby groups.”

She said that she knew someone who worked in the complaints department of the BBC who told her “that 85% of the complaints he dealt with were complaints by pro-Israeli, pro-Jewish lobby groups complaining about the perceived bias of the BBC’s Middle East coverage.”

She said this gives an idea of “how well organised, well funded people use the idea of public accountability to tie up a lot of BBC resources on one very narrow focus.”

Alibhai-Browne told of how she had been given a rent free home in England by Professor Hugh Blaschko for seven years after she fled Uganda and how he had said to her that “Israel will bring the worst out in us Jewish people”.

Alibahi-Browne also compared Israel to apartheid South Africa.

Milne said “there are well funded and well organised organisations that campaign in support of Israel. If you’re editing in these area you will find pressure and campaigning constantly by those groups.”

During the Q&A I couldn’t resist mentioning, seeing she was in the audience, that I took the footage that contributed to Jenny Tonge’s exit from the Liberal Democrats. In a bizarre outburst right at the end she took to the microphone to announce:

“I’d like to say, I hope he hasn’t gone, a big, big ‘thank you’ to Richard Millett, the Jewish Chronicle, the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the entire pro-Israel lobby who have relentlessly attacked me for eight years but making sure that the Palestinian cause gets heard.”

I have no problem at all with the Palestinian cause getting heard. The main problem for the Palestinians is that it is heard via the likes of Tonge, Milne, Rowland, Alibhai-Browne and Llewellyn.

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to clarify exactly what Helen Boaden did say that led to Llewellyn’s accusation that the Board of Deputies of British Jews “practically lives at the BBC”.

Click HERE for Jonathan Hoffman’s view of last night.

Click HERE for MEMO’s version with photos.

MEMO Talk audio

BBC’s Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen updates profile after biased Tweeting.

Soon after my BBCWatch article about Jeremy Bowen forwarding to his 21,000 Twitter followers anti-Israel activist Joseph Dana’s one-sided narrative about the Israeli police using tear gas and stun grenades on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Bowen updated his Twitter profile (Hat tip IsraelitKan).

The profile for @BowenBBC now reads “BBC Middle East Editor. Retweets aren’t endorsements.” instead of “BBC Middle East Editor.”

Let’s hope Bowen doesn’t think that extra sentence gives him carte blanche to retweet anti-Israel propaganda at leisure.

Go to BBCWatch to see Bowen’s Twitter profile change in full technicolour, and more.

A tiny success but maybe the first step of a long journey to try to make the BBC more objective in the way it reports Israel’s attempts to defend its citizens. One day the BBC might even refer to “the terrorist group Hamas whose Charter calls for the murder of Jews everywhere”, instead of merely “the militants Hamas”.

Meanwhile, the launch of BBCWatch, including my article, was neatly picked up by Jewish News One, the world’s first Jewish-interest news channel in English. Click below to view video:

Jewish News One

Interfaith foundation chief embraces Jew haters (and gets invited by BBC).

Mohammed Shafiq, Chief Executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, an interfaith organisation, was invited on to BBC 5 Live on Sunday night to review Monday morning’s newspapers. A quick perusal of Shafiq’s tweets revealed that he isn’t pro-Israel.

Here was one I really noticed:

A twitter exchange between us followed where I, more or less, accused Shafiq of being unfair to Israel and Jews, to which he responded that he was only “reporting what newspapers and tv news have said”. He sent me a link from CNN to prove it and demanded an apology.

But the CNN piece makes no mention of the settlers being “Jewish”. People know settlers are Jewish so why emphasise it, especially when the person emphasising it works for an interfaith organisation like the Ramadhan Foundation?

CNN’s article only refers to “Israeli extremists”, “radical Israeli settlers” and “extremists”. Mainstream commentators would, surely, refer to President Ahmadinejad as being “Iranian”, not “a Muslim”.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu condemned the act and investigations are still continuing to find the perpetrators.

I offered no apology but, instead, looked further at his tweets and found this:

So Shafiq has retweeted a message, which crudely refers to the Torah and Mein Kampf in the same sentence, to all his followers. It originated from IsraelTheNazis whose logo has turned the Star of David into something resembling a Swastika.

One of the Ramadhan Foundation’s values is “To be ethical and truthful” and one of its objectives is to “To enhance a better understanding between Muslims and non Muslims in the West”. One of the central messages of its Chairman, Muhammad Umar, is “to promote tolerance and peaceful co-existence.”

Let’s see how its Chief Executive puts all that out into the world:

1. When extremist Israeli settlers do something horrendous Shafiq puts emphasis on their Jewishness, so connecting ALL Jews with the crime.

2. Shafiq refers to Jerusalem as “occupied”. Not just east Jerusalem but the whole of Jerusalem, therefore, not allowing Israel to claim even a part of the city that is central to the Jewish faith.

3. Shafiq forwards a message from IsraelTheNazis which seems to imply that one of the Jewish holy books is Hitler’s Mein Kampf, while the logo of IsraelTheNazis includes the Jewish symbol, the Star of David, resembling a Swastika.

Will the BBC and other media outlets continue to use Shafiq as a social commentator? Of course they will!

For the sake of clarity I did ask Shafiq why he retweeted IsraelTheNazis hoping he might say it was a mistake or, possibly, apologise. Three days on there has been no response.

Meanwhile, even today Shafiq is trying to connect all Jews with wrongdoing. His latest pronouncement is to cite “Jewish donors” who have financed a film offensive to the Muslim community. Shafiq continues: “We call on the Jewish community to condemn this film and those that have donated to it.”

 

 

Now BBC’s Nicky Campbell compares Israel to Azerbaijan.

Hero Steven Sugar who fought the BBC to produce the Balen Report but lost (thejc.com)

Hero Steven Sugar who fought the BBC to produce the Balen Report but lost (thejc.com)

I used to enjoy waking up to BBC Radio 5 Live’s breakfast show with Nicky Campbell and Rachel Burden, but not anymore.

In a discussion about whether countries should be boycotting this year’s Eurovision Song Contest being held in Azerbaijan due to Azerbaijan’s human rights abuses you’d think it a safe bet that Israel would go unmentioned for once.

Not so on the BBC.

On this Monday’s breakfast show Campbell interviewed John Dalhuisen, of Amnesty International. Campbell first asked Dalhuisen what’s the problem with Azerbaijan and Dalhuisen spoke of the large scale corruption, of at least 15 prisoners of conscience and of Azerbaijan being “tightly controlled”.

Campbell then asked whether Dalhuisen had raised the same objections about Russia’s hosting of Eurovision in 2009.

Dalhuisen said that they didn’t call for a boycott of Russia and neither are they calling for one of Azerbaijan, but just for the participants to be free to speak their minds about what is taking place in Azerbaijan.

Campbell then said:

“And of course some would say Israel in 1999.”

Campbell then went on to describe Azerbaijan as a “society of fear and hatred”.

Had Campbell’s researcher bothered to look up the Freedom House index for 2012 they would have found Israel designated a “Free” country with a score of 1 for political rights and 2 for civil liberties (1 being the best, 7 being the worst).

It seems that the 2 for civil liberties is down to the passage of the so-called boycott bill which is considered undemocratic because it forbids calls for the boycotting of businesses within Israel and the West Bank.

Meanwhile, Azerbaijan and Russia are both considered “Not Free” and both have scores of 6 and 5.

And by 1999 Israel had taken huge risks for peace with the Palestinians. It was the decade of the Oslo Peace process but also the start of Islamist suicide bombings inside Israel which would eventually claim the lives of many hundreds of Israeli civilians.

Campbell should have picked Turkey, who staged the contest in 2004, from the list of past hosts of Eurovision to criticise for its human rights record. Turkey currently has in prison more journalists than China and Iran combined.

The one hero in all this is Steven Sugar (Z”L) who, before he died last year, tried to force the BBC to publish the Balen Report into potentially biased reporting of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The fight was taken over after his death by his brave wife.

But the BBC spent hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money taking the case all the way to the Supreme Court so as not to reveal the report and won.

With totally gratuitous and inaccurate remarks like that from Campbell and others at the BBC about Israel (also see here for Michael Portillo and Andrew Neil implying that America’s 2.1% Jewish population virtually controls America’s foreign policy) one can see why the BBC is trying to hide the report.

Audio of Interview:

BBC’s Nicky Campbell compares Israel to Azerbaijan – 12th March.

Trigger from Only Fools and Horses says “Don’t attack Iran”.

Roger Lloyd Pack - "intellect has rapidly diminished over the years until it reached its current level of hilarious stupidity"

Roger Lloyd Pack - "intellect has rapidly diminished over the years until it reached its current level of hilarious stupidity"

It’s a shame when an actor from one of Britain’s best loved comedies joins with the forces of darkness to come to the defence of one of the world’s most reviled regimes, but such is the fate of Roger Lloyd Pack who played Trigger in the BBC’s Only Fools and Horses.

Lloyd Pack is a seasoned anti-Israel activist and so it is no surprise to find his signature among the usual suspects in a letter to Wednesday’s Guardian supporting Stop The War Coalition’s Don’t Attack Iran Campaign.

Ironically, the BBC website gives the following description of Trigger:

“Although initially a (relatively speaking) sharp-minded villain Trigger’s intellect has rapidly diminished over the years until it reached its current level of hilarious stupidity.”

Who said art doesn’t sometimes mirror life?

The Guardian website even generously links the letter to the Don’t Attack Iran Campaign website. Why take out an expensive ad in a national newspaper, hire an expensive London venue or print millions of leaflets when all you need do nowadays is write a letter to The Guardian who will give you free advertising space if you’re anti-Israel.

The familiarity of these hardcore anti-Israel signatories is positive in as much as it shows how so alone they are in their support for such an oppressive ideology as Iran’s:

Tony Benn,
Jeremy Corbyn MP,
Brian Eno,
Lindsey German,
George Galloway,
Kate Hudson,
Jemima Khan,
Ken Loach,
Roger Lloyd Pack,
Lowkey,
Len McCluskey,
John McDonnell MP,
John Pilger,
Michael Rosen,
Jenny Tonge.

You’d have thought that after her forced resignation from her party after wishing away Israel’s existence they might have left Jenny Tonge off for once but, then again, her recent statements that “Israel is not going to be there forever” and “then they will reap what they have sown” ties in nicely with Ahmadinejad’s genocidal desire to wipe Israel off the map.

Some say Ahmadinejad was mistranslated and that he merely wanted to eradicate Zionism.

Let’s forget that Israel and Zionism are not mutually exclusive and gloss over Ahmadinejad’s “mistranslation” and listen to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei who, as reported by Press TV, “described Israel as a cancerous tumor that must be removed”.

It doesn’t get more unambiguous than that and straight from the fool’s and horse’s mouth!

And calling it an attack on Iran is like calling Operation Cast Lead an attack on Gaza or on the Palestinians when, in actual fact, it was a legitimate attack on the terrorist group Hamas in self-defence.

Attacking Iran’s nuclear sites will also be a legitimate act of self-defence unless Iran opens itself up to a full nuclear inspection in accordance with its non-proliferation treaty obligations, something that it has so far proved suspiciously unwilling to do.

And calling itself Stop The War Coalition is as equally disingenuous. Let Them Die Coalition would be far more accurate judging by their calls for non-intervention in Libya and, now, Syria.

The Guardian letter compares the build up to a possible war with Iran to that with Iraq. But Stop The War Coalition’s approach is itself reminiscent of Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement of another evil regime.

Galloway and German say they aren’t pacifists and Galloway has said that World War Two was a just war, but how can he, and we, be so sure he would have called it “just” at the time.

Stop The War Coalition is, basically, an organisation that supports non-intervention against regimes that are anti-American and/or anti-Israel. They were ecstatic when pro-American/pro-Israel Mubarak fell in Egypt but have criticised NATO’s ousting of anti-American/anti-Israel Gaddafi and will no way want Assad to fall with the negative impact that would have on Iran and, ultimately, Hezbollah and Hamas.

The hypocrisy of the signatories to The Guardian letter is fully exposed when Stop The War Coalition feels comfortable standing back watching Libyans and Syrians slaughtered in their droves while defending the vile Iranian regime and staying silent about the continued oppression of Iran’s women, gays, Jews (the 25,000 strong community is limited to one MP), Bahais, Kurds and anyone wanting to live a life in Iran as free as those signatories themselves can do in the west.

An Education in American Jewish power politics by the BBC’s Andrew Neil.

Last Wednesday I got a real education. I had asked Andrew Neil, presenter of the BBC’s political satire show This Week, on Twitter whether he would apologise on this week’s This Week for his insinuation on last week’s This Week that American Jews control America’s foreign policy and that America might get dragged into war with Iran because of it.

Andrew Neil had asked ex-Conservative politician Michael Portillo for his “moment of the week”. The exchange went like this (see above for the short clip):

Michael Portillo: “Mark Mardell, who’s the America editor of the BBC, produced a report, I think on Tuesday, in which he said that the White House now believes that Israel will attack Iran during the course of this year, possibly as early as the Spring, certainly before the Presidential election. The reasoning is that before long the nuclear weapons’ programme of Iran will be beyond reach. But also if you were to launch an attack before the Presidential election, both Presidential candidates, Republican and Democrat, would have to support Israel in an election situation so it’s a good time to launch an attack.”

Andrew Neil: “Because of the Jewish vote?”

Michael Portillo: “Because of the Jewish vote, of course. So, this appears to be the betting. Now if this happens, of course this may lure the United States in in one way or another. But it is a transformational occurrence if it happens. Iran could be expected to retaliate in all sorts of ways, possibly against Saudi Arabia, for example, possibly against the Sixth Fleet in Bahrain. I mean it’s going to make most of the things we are talking about at the moment seem pretty much like a Sunday picnic.”

Andrew Neil: “I’m sure Mr Obama needs that like a hole in the head as he tries to get re-election.”

Michael Portillo: “Well, on the other hand Presidential incumbents tend to do quite well in a war situation.”

Incredibly, Andrew Neil seems more concerned for Obama than Israel’s security in all this, but the above exchange also raises the tired, old slur of dual loyalty; that Jews are more loyal to Israel’s concerns than their own country’s interests.

After that my brief Twitter exchange with Andrew Neil last Wednesday went as follows:

Me: “are you going to apologise tomorrow night for talking about “the Jewish vote” in America or are you going to let it slide?Shameful”

Andrew Neil: “Bit hard since we’re not on. But no anyway. Jewish vote has been feature of US politics for over 100 years. Studied it at uni!!”

Me: “American Jews r 1.5% of American population. How can such a tiny vote affect American election?What about the Christian\Muslim vote?”

Andrew Neil: “Because Jewish turnout is huge, concentrated in key states and tends to vote in unison. Go get a book on US psephology.”

Me: “They always tend to vote Democrat whatever! You insinuated Jews control American foreign policy! Disgraceful. You should apologise.”

Andrew Neil: “I’m trying to educate you not offend you! But clearly not getting anywhere. There is no apology and no point in prolonging this”

It was disappointing that Neil didn’t wish to prolong the exchange as he may have learnt something. In last December’s article Why Republican efforts to corral Jewish vote may come up short Nathan Guttman is quoted as saying:

“Poll after poll, survey after survey, show that Jewish Americans love Israel and want their elected officials to support Israel, but don’t view this issue as decisive. Topping the Jewish voter’s priority list are economic and social issues. Israel is somewhere in the middle.”

As of a few months ago, there were 6,588,065 Jews in America out of 308,745,538; just some 2.1% of the American population. Tiny!

These Jews are mainly based in New York
which has 1,635,020 Jews representing 8.4% of New York’s population, California (1,219,740 @ 3.3%), Florida (638,635 @ 3.4%) and New Jersey (504,450 @ 5.7%). These states represent respectively 29, 55, 29 and 14 of the 270 electoral votes needed to secure a Presidential win.

New York (29) has voted Democrat in the last six Presidential elections, California (55) has voted Democrat for the last five as has New Jersey (14). Admittedly, Florida (29) is a major swing state having vote Republican in seven out of the last 10 Presidential elections; although it voted for Obama in 2008.

Jews have overwhelmingly vote Democrat historically: 78% of them voted for Obama in 2008, 76% for Kerry in 2004, 79% for Bush in 2000, 78% for Clinton in 1996, 80% for Clinton in 1992, 64% for Dukakis in 1988, 67% for Mondale in 1984, 45% for Carter in 1980 and 71% for Carter in 1976.

Meanwhile, a Pew Poll released a few days ago shows that only 5% of the American public thinks that America should not support Israel if it attacks Iran, while 39% think it should support Israel. 51% think America should remain neutral. The Poll also found:

“Fully 64% of white evangelical Protestants say that the U.S. should support Israel if it attacks Iran in an effort to stop their nuclear weapon program. That compares with 42% of white mainline Protestants and 41% of white Catholics.”

It isn’t just about religion either. The Poll suggests that “There are large demographic differences in views about what the U.S. should do if Israel attacks Iran”, for example depending on whether you are male or female, young or old.

But in all of the categories listed far more Americans think that if Israel attacks Iran then America should support Israel (see results of Pew Poll below).

So, in conclusion, it isn’t, as Michael Portillo thinks, that Presidential candidates “would have to support Israel” but that Americans generally identify with Israel. America, like Israel, is also under attack and America was created in the same way as Israel; in both cases mostly uninhabited land was colonised. In the 1880s when Jews started to return to the area that was eventually to become Israel there were only some 550,000 Arabs and Jews in an area that now holds seven million in Israel.

And Andrew Neil’s claim that “Jewish turnout is huge, concentrated in key states” is wrong. The Jewish vote is tiny and not in key states, apart from Florida. It’s the American Christian evangelical vote that is huge, there being some 50 – 80 million of them in America.

The only claim Neil gets right is that Jews tend to vote in unison. But they vote on a range of issues, only one of which is Israel, which is why they vote mainly Democrat.

Finally, an American President is going to do what is in the best interests of America and not just America’s Jews. In 1980 Reagan received 39% of the Jewish vote, which was relatively high for a Republican, but in 1981 he forced through Congress the sale of Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) to Saudi Arabia despite fierce pro-Israel lobbying against the sale.

Reagan’s Jewish vote did fall back to 31% in the 1984 election, but it didn’t stop him getting re-elected.

So, it really isn’t about “the Jewish vote” at all, although the likes of Andrew Neil and Michael Portillo, in their ignorance, will continue to tell you that it really is.

Pew Research Center Poll

Pew Research Center Poll

Why did the BBC pull last night’s live transmission of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra at the Proms?

Zubin Mehta and the IPO waiting for more protesters to be removed last night.

Zubin Mehta and the IPO waiting for more protesters to be removed last night.

The band played on, the audience inside the Royal Albert Hall loved it and screamed “More!”, so then why did the BBC pull last night’s live Radio 3 broadcast of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra at the Proms near to the beginning?

People around the world had tuned in to listen, but instead the BBC quickly switched to a recording of a past IPO performance.

The six or so anti-Israel disruptions (see clips below) didn’t really detract from the evening’s overall enjoyment.

The BBC would’t pull the live transmission of a big football match because 30 hooligans invaded the pitch, but this is the equivalent of what they did last night to the detriment of those who were not lucky enough to be there in person.

The BBC is broadcasting recorded exerpts of the concert next Wednesday at 2.30pm (BST), but the main beauty of an event is that it is live.

Then the BBC’s report of what happened handed a complete propaganda coup to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, an organisation that recently invited Sheikh Raed Salah to speak, a man who has called homosexuality “a crime” that starts “the collapse of every society”.

First, despite the BBC seeming so offended by last night’s disruptions they still found it passable to upload audio of it for their report.

Second, they referred to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign as a “pro-Palestinian group”, but what has the PSC ever done for the Palestinians? They are nothing more than a bunch of anti-Israel activists.

Third, the BBC report speaks of “increased security measures for the concert”, but my bag was given a cursory glance and some of the protesters went in disguise; one woman dressed as a man with grey hair and a beard. They were later seen coming out of a nice South Kensington restaurant as no arrests were made.

The disruptions were totally predictable, judging by past events, and yet when each interruption occurred security took ages to get to the scene of the protest.

And it didn’t need a Sherlock Holmes to tell you that the absence of the hardcore activists at the anti-Israel rally outside the event indicated that they would all be inside the Royal Albert Hall.

It is the same small group of activists that disrupt these events time and time again and cause distress to people watching who have paid good money during hard times.

Meanwhile, young people have been going to prison for stealing a packet of chewing gum or having a lick of some stolen ice-cream during the London riots.

From what I could tell someone who was led away, I believe, is still on a conditional discharge for previous anti-Israel activity. Another conviction could mean imprisonment. And when it came to paying the costs of the court case that person pleaded poverty, yet there they were in a good seat at the Royal Albert Hall and going out for dinner in South Kensington.

The final insult was when someone was taken out by security for holding up an Israeli flag during each disturbance, yet on the last night of the Proms everyone is waving a Union Jack flag.

Mind you it only cost me £5 to get in to stand and it was probably the best value entertainment I have ever had.

And Zubin Mehta and his Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra were heroic.

Clips and photos (use windows explorer if Firefox doesn’t work):

Zubin Mehta acknowledging the audience at the end last night.

Zubin Mehta acknowledging the audience at the end last night.

Pro-Israel rally outside Royal Albert Hall last night.

Pro-Israel rally outside Royal Albert Hall last night.

Last night's pro-Israel rally outside Royal Albert Hall.

Last night's pro-Israel rally outside Royal Albert Hall.

Outside RAH last night, but Mer Khamis was killed by a Palestinian.

Outside RAH last night, but Mer Khamis was killed by a Palestinian.

Last night outside RAH.

Last night outside RAH.

Last night outside the RAH.

Last night outside the RAH.

Abdel Bari Atwan at Amnesty: “I get worse coverage in the Jewish Chronicle than Hitler would!”

Greg Philo, Victoria Brittain, Abdel Bari Atwan and Tim Llewellyn at Amnesty last night.

Greg Philo, Victoria Brittain, Abdel Bari Atwan and Tim Llewellyn at Amnesty last night.

Last night at Amnesty journalist Abdel Bari Atwan held up an old JC front page, which had a headline about him that he didn’t like, and claimed he gets worse coverage than Adolf Hitler.

He spoke along with Tim “But Hamas was democratically elected” Llewellyn and Phil “We wait in fear of phone calls from the Israelis” Philo, while Victoria Brittan chaired and made sure not to take any pro-Israel questions in the Q&A. So much for Amnesty claiming:

“Those who disagree with MEMO, or indeed any apsect of the event, are of course welcome to attend and make their point in a reasonable way.”

We were treated to default rhetoric about Israel controlling the media and dominating ALL the political parties. Llewellyn said the problem was with the political system in this country where “the Liberal, Labour and Conservative parties, were definitely completely and utterly dominated by the pro-Israeli lobby”.

And during the Q&A Abe Hayeem, of Architects for Palestinians, complained that “Jewish Media, specifically the JC and Jewish News, ingrain propaganda in the community”.

Philo was there to, basically, flog his new book More Bad News From Israel but spared the time to accuse Israel of having a “sophisticated propaganda system” which led to the BBC making inappropriate statements like “Israel’s attack on Hamas enters its second week” when it should be speaking of “Israel’s attack on the Palestinians”.

He spoke of the way the media portrayed Israel as just responding to rockets, but ignored Israel’s attacks in the previous three years and that “many children had been killed”.

As a consequence, said Philo, although the public had sympathy for the Palestinians they wanted the Palestinians to stop firing rockets at Israel. They were repeating the language of the news that Israel “had to respond”.

He quoted a woman in one of his focus groups who said:

“When I saw the pictures of the dead children, it was dreadful. I was in tears. But it didn’t make me feel that the Palestinians and Hamas were right. I think the Palestinians haven’t taken the chance to work towards a peaceful solution.”

Philo said it was like she was reading out the Israeli press material. Philo asked the interviewee afterwards what was the source of her beliefs and her reponse was “(BBC) Radio 4. Avid Radio 4 listener. I got it all from there”.

When Philo told her that it was Israel that broke the ceasefire before Operation Cast Lead and that Hamas had agreed to stop the rockets if the blockade was lifted she claimed, apparently quite affronted, “that can’t be so, I would have known that”.

He said the reason for the lack of truthful information in the media was the pressures that journalists, especially those at the BBC, were coming under. One said “We wait in fear of the phonecall from the Israelis. The only issue then is how high up from their organisation has it come and how high up our organisation it has gone.” He said that minutes before going on air journalists have been discussing words they are allowed to use.

“That is the level of tension inside the organisation. Journalists aren’t biased, but are just playing it safe,” he said.

Former BBC Middle East correspondent Tim Llewellyn, couldn’t wait to slag off his old employer. He had already written a Guardian piece that day accusing the BBC of “imbalance and distortion” over their “coverage of Israel and Palestine”. The piece is a rehash of his Guardian article of seven years ago. What fun around the dinner table Llewellyn must be!

His main complaint last night though was about the BBC’s Death in the Med which, he said, portrayed the Israeli soldiers who boarded the boat as acting in “self-defence” when they killed some of those on board the Mavi Marmara.

His talk was basically a rant about how the BBC didn’t properly address his complaints. He referred to one response from the BBC as a “tendentious piece of garbage”. Well, join the club, Tim!

He even felt sorry for Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s current Middle East correspondent, who is also, apparently, constrained in what he is allowed to say:

“Short of defying their bosses at the BBC I cannot see what they can do. Defying their bosses means they will be shoved sideways or fired. The system is weighted against many BBC, ITV and other reporters. I can feel Jeremy Bowen’s pain as he is dancing around the basic question. If he has no courage to confront the BBC, then I despair.”

As for Bari Atwan, or Barry as he likes to be called, he really is “the special one”. He moaned about how BBC’s Newsnight kept mysteriously dropping him at the last minute for the likes of Bibi Netanyahu and Ehud Barak. Imagine that, Barry being dropped in favour of a world statesman! How low down can Newsnight get.

And, apparently, the Israel lobby even caused the BBC to stop him being referred to as a Middle East “Expert” or “Analyst” and he was targeted by said lobby for being the “most impressionable”. Talking about putting onself on a pedestal.

But then came his Hitler rant. To suggest that Jews might think him worse than Hitler really is a case of exaggerating his self-importance.

You can hear all this below and there are some photos of the protest outside Amnesty and a clip of Victoria Brittain summing up. In the clip she is referring to Abdullah Abul Rahma, who has recently been released from prison, and the village of Nabi Saleh and what happened there “last Friday”. She wants you to ask yourself why you didn’t see this on any TV screen. I have watched the clip (below) but cannot see anything that could possibly knock Al Qaeda, Libya, Syria or Bahrain out of the headlines.

But then, having been brainwashed by the Jewish Chonicle, I would say that wouldn’t I.

Counterintuitively, I came out of the meeting pleased that they were creating their own monster about Israel. Making people feel paranoid must be Israel’s latest weapon.

Peter Benenson was the founder of Amnesty.

Peter Benenson was the founder of Amnesty.

Pro-Israel activist outside Amnesty. MEMO is accused of supporting Hamas.

Pro-Israel activist outside Amnesty. MEMO is accused of supporting Hamas.

Audio of last night’s talks:

Greg Philo at Amnesty, 23rd May.

Tim Llewellyn at Amnesty, 23rd May.

Abdel Bari Atwan at Amnesty, 23rd May.

Q&A at Amnesty, 23rd May.